New EPA program will help school district's replace diesel buses with electric buses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its historic $5 billion Clean School Bus Program on Friday. 

The new program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Biden last November, will help school districts replace polluting diesel buses with zero-tailpipe-emission, electric school buses. 

School districts can apply now to receive a rebate, delivered to the manufacturer or dealer before the district pays, covering the total cost of as many as 25 new electric school buses or the price differential between such buses and diesel buses. 

While buses that run on some "alternative fuels" are eligible for some funding, the EPA is placing higher prioritization for applications for electric buses. The EPA will award up to $500 million this year, with another $4.5 billion available for school bus replacements over the next four years. 

The deadline to apply for this year’s rebate program is August 19, 2022.

The state’s fleet of 30,000 school buses carry about half of Texas school children every school day. These buses primarily run on diesel fuel, which has been linked to several serious health risks, including increased rates of respiratory illness and cancer.

Only one Texas school district, Everman ISD near Fort Worth, currently has electric school buses, but many others, including McAllen, San Antonio, Valley View, and Crandall ISDs, have expressed interest.